1. The European Union is deeply concerned by the recently adopted amendment to the already problematic “foreign agent” law in the Russian Federation. The amendment widens the scope of the “foreign agent” media law to also recognize individuals as “foreign agents”.
2. The EU has repeatedly said that the existing Russian legislation on labelling both NGOs and media outlets as “foreign agents” imposes additional administrative and financial burdens as well as stigmatizes the media or NGO concerned, thus restricting the exercise of fundamental freedoms. This practice clearly goes against Russia’s human rights obligations and commitments.
3. Extending the scope and definition of the concept of "foreign agents" is yet another worrying step against free and independent media and access to information as well as further attempt to silence independent voices in Russia.
4. The EU notes the concerns expressed in this regard by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and supports her call on the authorities of the Russian Federation to thoroughly review the current legislation in order to bring it in line with European and international human rights standards, instead of adopting legislation that aims at intimidating and silencing journalists, human rights defenders and other individuals.